20 Iconic Movie Makeovers That Continue to Inspire

movie makeoversIn case you didn’t know, September happens to be Self Improvement Month, the perfect opportunity to make some changes in your life that you’ve been putting off for far too long. You could always start training for a marathon or learn a second language, but might I suggest something a little more superficial to start with? Take your cue from Hollywood, and have your sassiest friend give you a dramatic makeover! It might sound intimidating right now, but trust me — it’s way easier than you might think:

Step 1: Take off your glasses.
Step 2: Congratulations! You’ve finished all the steps.

I’m only partially joking.

If I’ve learned anything from watching way too many teen movies over the years, it’s that a well-placed makeover montage has the ability to improve literally every aspect of your life. Want to fit in with the popular kids at school? Get a makeover. Need an extra boost of courage to finally go talk to that hottie you’ve been pining after? Get a makeover. Want to pose as a babysitter so your recently divorced wife will unknowingly pay you to spend time with your kids? Maybe consider some therapy … and then go get a makeover.

I’ll admit that the metamorphic powers of contacts and mascara are more than a little far-fetched. Still, 9 times out of 10, the frumpy character undergoing the remodel realizes his or her full, been-there-all-along potential and inner beauty by the time the credits roll. And if it takes a fabulous makeover montage to make that happen, who are we to judge?

From cartoon princesses to crossdressing dads, take a look at some of cinema’s most memorable transformations! Which one is your favorite?

20 Iconic Movie Makeovers That Continue to Inspire:

  • 20 Iconic Movie Makeovers That Continue to Inspire 1 of 21
    PicMonkey Collage

    Just one more reason why life would be better if Hollywood called all the shots...

  • Never Been Kissed 2 of 21
    never been kissed

    When reporter Josie Geller finally nabs her first undercover assignment, she is mortified to discover it requires her to revisit the worst years of her life — high school. At first, she tries WAY too hard to be "cool," wearing feather boas and white jeans (ew). But then when she acts like her true, witty self and stops doubting her brilliance, she discovers true friendships, nails her exposé, and gets to make out with Michael Vartan. Everybody say it with me: "I'm not Josie Grossie anymore!"

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • She’s All That 3 of 21
    she's all that

    Ah yes, the makeover that launched a thousand spoofs. When popular Zach makes a bet that he can turn any girl into the school's prom queen, his friends choose Laney Boggs as his target. In teen movie universe, Laney is repulsive because she wears glasses and one-piece bathing suits. In the famous makeover sequence, Laney ditches the specs, slips on a red mini dress, and walks down the stairs in slow motion to Sixpence None the Richer. It's ridiculous, of course, because the pre- and post-makeover Laneys look equally gorgeous, but clearly Freddy Prinze Jr. needed a little extra nudge.

    Photo credit: Netflix

  • The Princess Diaries 4 of 21
    princess diaries

    Before she shaved her head for her Oscar-winning role in Les Miserables, Anne Hathaway underwent a far more regal transformation in The Princess Diaries. When Mia finds out she's the princess of Genovia, one of her first duties is to get a totally new look (because royals can't have bushy eyebrows, as you know). She goes from being invisible to running from the paparazzi overnight, which only makes her true friends become more apparent in the long run.

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Mrs. Doubtfire 5 of 21
    mrs doubtfire

    In order to spend time with his children, newly separated Daniel decides the best plan of attack is to pose as an elderly, female housekeeper. Luckily, his brother is a makeup artist, so we get a brilliant scene of costume trial and error — Robin Williams celebrity impersonations included. If you think makeover montages are great, try crossdressing makeover montages. Even greater.

    Photo credit: Rotten Tomatoes

  • Pretty Woman 6 of 21
    pretty woman

    Vivian is a spunky and smart prostitute who is capable of so much more. If only she had a better wardrobe... Enter Edward, a successful businessman who gives Vivian warm fuzzies and his platinum card. She proves that she not only cleans up quite nicely, but she is worthy of people's respect. And if you dare try to cross her? Big mistake. Big. Huge.

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding 7 of 21
    my big fat greek wedding

    It's never too late to take control of your own life, proven by 30-year-old Toula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This is hands down my favorite movie makeover of all time. Yes, Toula gets contacts and learns how to apply blush, but her true transformation comes when she finally discovers her talents, asserts herself, and lets her energy shine. And THAT is what ultimately helps her land the man — and life — of her dreams.

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Miss Congeniality 8 of 21
    miss congeniality

    When the FBI needs a set of eyes in the Miss America pageant, Gracie Hart unwillingly steps in. "Impossible!" you say. "She has frizzy hair!" Fear not — a swarm of beauty specialists swoop in to wax, pluck, and shampoo Gracie into pageant-ready condition. She ends up saving the day and teaching women how to respect themselves, but if you ask me, she still could have done that with knots in her hair. (Side note: How much do you wish Michael Caine was your life coach?)

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Crazy, Stupid, Love 9 of 21
    crazy stupid love

    After Calvin gets dumped by his wife, Jacob Palmer steps in to hand out some romance advice and throw out some Velcro wallets. Calvin initially abuses his newfound confidence and style, but eventually channels it into showing his wife just how much he loves and appreciates her. The main takeaway from this movie, however, is that every man in the world should seek out a one-on-one image consultation from Ryan Gosling.

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Clueless 10 of 21
    clueless

    Cher Horowitz's main thrill in life is a makeover, so imagine her excitement when new girl Tai Frasier shows up to school in flannel and baggy jeans. Enter one of the most popular makeover montages of all time. Cher and Dion introduce Tai to eyeliner and midriff tops, and thus a head-turning hottie is born.

     

    Fun fact: Refinery29 did the math to see how much Tai's makeover would cost in real life. The price of self-esteem? $2,173.01.

    Photo credit: Netflix

  • The Devil Wears Prada 11 of 21
    devil wears prada

    Another classic drab-to-fab makeover for Anne Hathaway. As the new assistant to an evil fashion editor, Andy Sachs spends the early part of the film shunning trends and embracing her frumpiness. After getting called fat and having her sweaters ridiculed, however, Andy caves and gets a high fashion revamp. Unfortunately, she also sells her soul in the process. She goes from dismissing fashion, to putting way too much value in it, to finally emerging at the end as a normal human being.

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • My Fair Lady 12 of 21
    my fair lady

    This 20th century Pygmalion story is about as classic as transformation tales get. Audrey Hepburn plays Eliza Doolittle, a brash flower seller with the thickest Cockney accent you'll ever hear. Henry Higgins, a pompous elocution professor, sees her as the ultimate challenge and vows to pass her off as a proper lady. Eliza struggles through her torturous speech lessons, but ultimately perfects her accent and cleans up her appearance. Her grand entrance at the Ascot Racecourse is nothing short of breathtaking, although no amount of hat plumage could stop her from urging Dover to ... well, you know.

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Spider-Man 13 of 21
    spider-man

    Geek-to-chic transformations are not just for the ladies, as proven by Peter Parker in Spider-Man. It's just that instead of hair dye and stilettos, Peter has a swollen radioactive spider bite. Nevertheless, the result is fairly standard — he loses his glasses, instantly drawing compliments from Mary Jane. In the world of comic books, glasses are as distracting as a permanent brick wall in front of your face. Has Clark Kent taught us nothing?

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Cinderella 14 of 21
    cinderella

    You wouldn't think a makeover could inspire so many dreams and fantasies, but that's exactly the effect of Cinderella's magical transformation. This movie made the whole rags to riches story even more desirable, and it's probably safe to say it set the stage for almost all future makeover scenes. Replace the plump fairy godmother with a cheeky hairdresser, and you have about 50% of all romantic comedies ever made. 

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Grease 15 of 21
    grease

    Are you having a bit of trouble fitting in with your crush and his obnoxious friends? Don't worry. All you need to do is abandon all of your morals, buy cigarettes and spandex pants, and wow everyone with your stunning conformity! While the motives behind Sandy's bad girl metamorphosis are less than admirable, this list would be incomplete without her makeover. The awesomeness of "You're the One that I Want" makes up for the shady message anyway.

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Sabrina 16 of 21
    sabrina

    Sabrina tells the story of a chauffeur's daughter who watchers the rich family her father works for from afar. Our mousey heroine goes to Paris, discovers herself, and returns a few years later as a sophisticated beauty. While Julia Ormond's transformation in the 1995 remake is much more drastic, Audrey Hepburn's is the one we'll always remember. She was already adorable at the beginning of the film, but her post-makeover ball gowns, Givenchy LBDs, and pixie cut are downright iconic.

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Hitch 17 of 21
    hitch

    Hitch is a professional dating consultant who takes on hapless Albert Brennaman as a client. While Albert doesn't get a huge physical makeover (other than getting his back waxed), he does learn how to dance and talk to women in order to woo his lady love, Allegra. So is acting and dressing like a suave and dapper debonair the key to Albert's success? Only sort of. It gives him the confidence to stop over-thinking everything and act naturally around Allegra, which is what ultimately makes her fall for him. So profound.

    Photo credit: IMDB

  • Jawbreaker 18 of 21
    jawbreaker

    After a group of popular girls accidentally murder their best friend, they decide to silence the only witness, "hideous" Fern Mayo, by giving her a makeover and letting her join their clique. Airtight logic, no? The new Fern's blonde 'do was probably pretty stylish in 1999, but her original bangs and nerdy appeal would go over way better today. Still, you've gotta love that super creepy makeover montage.

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • The Breakfast Club 19 of 21
    breakfast club

    While pretty much everything about The Breakfast Club is iconically awesome, there is one aspect that seems to anger fans like nothing else — Allison Reynolds' makeover. Apparently, a few minutes alone with Molly Ringwald will turn you from a freak-chic "basket case" to a bow-wearing girly girl. But even though most people prefer Allison's original look, this particular makeover only adds to the film's message that we shouldn't be locked forever in the roles society hands out to us. Cue the triumphant fist pumps!

    Photo credit: Netflix

  • Freaky Friday 20 of 21
    freaky friday

    When rebellious teen Anna Coleman wakes up to find herself in her mother's body, she is obviously mortified... until she realizes that she can now use her mom's credit card. She takes her newly adult self on a major shopping spree, chops off her hair, and gets her ears pierced. The result is one of the coolest, sexiest moms we've ever seen, played brilliantly by Jamie Lee Curtis. This ain't no Activia commercial, people.

    Photo credit: Screenshots from Freaky Friday

  • Can’t Buy Me Love 21 of 21
    can't buy me love

    Patrick Dempsey plays Ronald Miller, an awkward geek who pays cheerleader Cindy $1,000 to pretend to date him, therein obtaining a spot with the popular crowd. Immediately after accepting the terms of their arrangement, Cindy gives Ronnie what may be the quickest movie makeover ever: she puts mousse in his hair, takes off his glasses, and rips the sleeves off his shirt. BAM! Instant dreamboat. Can we hop on the back of his lawnmower now please?

    Photo credit: YouTube

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